After a tiny bit of drama that caused one of our party to not be able to show, we arrived at the Key Club at around 7:30 and met a line wrapping around the block. Doors opened at 8, which in club terms really means 8:30, so we stood around outside for about 45 minutes waiting to get in. Luckily, there were no protestors like last time Boyd and Death in June were in LA that caused him to not be allowed to play. Everyone driving down the strip of course had to honk at us, and some Asian girl rolled down her window and yelled out ‘Fuck Me’. I’m really glad I don’t live in Hollywood…
Anyhow, after some problems with my ID, we got in the club and were met with a showing of Pearls Before Swine on multiple screens throughout the club. I’m not quite sure as to why they were playing the movie, as it wasn’t really possible to actually understand what was going on due to the fact that all you could hear was bass, people chattering and the music the club decided to blast on top of it. We proceeded to go downstairs to go see what they had for sale; Death in June calendars, plates, and some CD’s. I was hoping to see some of those ‘limited edition of 6’ albums they sell on tour only, but no such luck. I didn’t bother buying anything considering Douglas and Boyd like to pull pranks, and I could just imagine them in the back snickering to themselves “Ha, they’re buying PLATES. We could be selling plastic spoons and they’d eat them up”.
There was apparently an art show going on down there as well; I’m guessing it was Boyd’s personal gallery, but I can’t be 100% sure on that as I have no idea how you were supposed to get the blue wristband that warranted access. Oh well. Back upstairs. According to the ticker on the movie, Pearls Before Swine had just passed the 2 hour mark. The Key Club is one of those ‘dinner theatres’, so we ran up to the second floor to see if we could get something to eat before Non went on. We were seated after asking if we had reservations (what??), and about 20 minutes later our orders were taken after having to make physical contact with a waitress. While we were waiting for our food, my friend Toastboy noticed the people across from us were from the Partridge Family Temple and he flashed the sign. One of the girls, who was wearing a very unusual outfit to say the least, came over and started chatting with us for a while about Danny Partridge and their temple located down the street from the club located above a taco stand. I paid the check, left a lousy tip, and went back downstairs. By this time, Pearl’s Before Swine had reached the 3 hour mark, and there were a couple hundred people downstairs making it nearly impossible to move anywhere. We pushed our way down to the floor and watched the end of the movie. Most of the people on the floor were sitting down, and once the movie ended everyone stood up and rushed to the front.
At this point, everyone was expecting Non to go on. On the screens popped up an old 60’s German pop singer doing one of those wacky old 60’s music videos. Interesting, I thought. Maybe this is promotion for Music for Pussycats, Boyd’s new compilation…. Well, this actually went on for about an hour. Nothing but 60’s German pop singers singing their terrible songs with their terrible videos for an hour. I wondered if I was going to be one of the victims Boyd might talk about in a new article written for a Re/Search book on Pranks.
The videos stopped, and Non came on stage dressed in a black T-Shirt and black leather pants with a bic’d head, smiling at the crowd. He opened up with the song Total War. He had a drummer this time; last time I saw him play it was just him and his black box, and he made all the drum noises with his voice. I thought it was good both ways, though it seemed more true to the version on God and Beast with this setup. The Key Club I’m sure is more used to hosting Rock n’ Roll bands, so the bass was pumped up really loud and it was unfortunately really hard to understand what he was saying when he wasn’t yelling. After Total War he proceeded to play another song I actually wasn’t familiar with; loops of him saying screaming something in German and then speech on top of it. I couldn’t tell you what he was saying, once again due to the bass being blasted. He then proceeded to break into a short noise set with high pitched screeches and growling sounds, whereupon someone in the audience yelled something to the effect of “Shut up Boyd, no one wants to hear your stupid noise!”. Toastboy gave him the evil eye and he shut up for the rest of the night.
After Boyd whipped out the whistle, it seems the sound engineer decided to turn him down a bit. He also pulled out some weird cylinder with a rubber wobbly thing that made sort of a rumbling noise through distortion. While I enjoyed this, I could tell it was upsetting the audience a little, but they clapped after he was finished all the same. Douglas P. wandered onto the stage with his guitar and Boyd proceeded to perform a song or two from Wolfpact. He was reading from a book that he had written all of his lyrics in, and my girlfriend swears that his hand was shaking when he was reading from it. Although I didn’t really notice it, she thought it was cute none-the-less. For his last song of his short 30 minute or so set, Boyd played Eternal Fire. Boyd exited with a wave and a smile informed the crowd that he would be back later.
A few more of those 60’s videos were played to torture us a bit more while we were waiting for Death in June to come on. Then, the beginning of the most unexpec- ted performance started when Douglas P came on stage in his usual hood/mask garb, waving both an American flag and a Death in June flag. Seeing American patriotism in non-Americans is really weird to me. Especially from Death in June, who I would assume would be against this whole war. Anyhow, as it usually is with Death in June, the style of the night is dictated by who’s actually there. Tonight it was Douglas P and a drummer. The first few songs were drums only with both Douglas P and the drummer pounding away while Douglas sang. I couldn’t tell you what the first 2 songs were because to tell you the truth all I know them by is ‘These are the songs I hit next when they come on’. After the first 2 songs were played, more of the unexpectedness came out when the background opera singing sample come on from C’est un Reve; Douglas stood in front of the crowd and said “Where is Bin Laden? Where is Bin Laden? Is he in Afghanistan? Or maybe Pakistan. Where is Bin Laden?”. They then proceeded to pound on the drums and perform the original lyrics. I thought the floor was going to fall out from beneath me as it rumbled from other attendees stomping their feet and jumping around to the beat of the song. It really was a good rendition, it sounded exactly like the Heilige! version. Douglas is really one of the rare singers that actually sounds live like on the albums. Good show.
After the three drum-only songs were finished, the mask was replaced with what I can only describe as a hat/mop. The brushes from the mop were hanging down completely in front of Douglas’ face so you couldn’t see anything but his nose and mouth sticking out when he was singing. I’m thinking maybe the hat/mop is some sort of hat designed to keep bugs out of your face. Anyhow, Douglas picked up his guitar, and on came the piercing squeals of the pig from Ku Ku Ku. The pig noises pretty much drowned out the entire song, and I really couldn’t help but laugh. They just kept going on and on louder than anything else. After the song was finished, he broke into She Said Destroy, only the pig noises were still on their loop, also drowning out this song. Most people in the audience seemed to try to act like they didn’t hear them and danced/sang along with it anyhow. I looked to my left and there was this guy obviously high on something that kept waving his arms around dancing off beat mouthing to lyrics to a different song. He continued to do this throughout the entire show, even when the music wasn’t playing. After the song was finished, he thankfully turned the piggy noises off and continued to play the set you’d expect to hear from Death in June. Fall Apart, Giddy Giddy Carousel, Rose Cloud of Holocaust, etc. As I said before, a Death in June performance always depends on who he has with him that night, so we got to hear all the classic songs with a new beat to it. Everything was really top notch; the singing, the guitar, and the drum beats made the old songs sound new. Acoustic versions of Kameradschaft and Smashed to Bits were played; The acoustic Smashed to Bits was refreshing and I especially liked how he converted the song over from its electronic counterpart, though I would have liked to see both versions played. Too bad Albin wasn’t around.
When playing songs from All Pigs Must Die, Boyd would come out from the back and give his introduction, as he did on the album. I thought it was a nice touch. From what I can remember, All Pigs must Die, Tick Tock, and The Enemy Within were played. Continuing with the “unexpectedness” theme, Douglas P changed the lyrics on The Enemy Within to now say “These are strange days for you, me and America”.
They finished up their set with Fields of Rape and of course, the crowd decided the rest of us wanted to hear their renditions of the song as well, and everyone sang along with him as loud as they possibly could. Thanks guys. After Douglas walked off the stage, while everyone was cheering for an encore, someone decided to drop a stink bomb. This had to be the coolest crowd I’ve ever been with. Here’s a short list of just how good this crowd really was:
1. They shout out the parts of the songs they’ve memorized to let everyone know ‘I know the words too’, and then kinda make mouth gestures and hum during parts they don’t.
2. A few people were smoking pot at the show, including some burly woman next to us that tried to pick a fight with some guy. I’m curious how well the band appreciated it when the guy towards the right sat on the stage and started blowing smoke at them. This isn’t a metallica show folks.
3. Weird dancing people on what seemed to be most likely E.
4. People were actually throwing stuff at Douglas and Boyd while they were performing.
5. SOMEONE DROPPED A FUCKING STINK BOMB IN A CROWD OF A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE.
Anyhow, the encore performance was probably the highlight of the night. Douglas P came back on stage and performed Heaven Street. Another song everyone decided to sing along with… Boyd came back on stage from wherever, again with a big smile on his face, flashed the Partridge Family Temple sign, and played a few more songs from Wolfpact. Now, what made the encore the highlight, as far as I’m concerned, was the performance of “People” from Music, Martinis and Misanthropy. I have LONG wanted to see Boyd do MM&M; or Hatesville live and this is the closest I think we’re going to come to that for a while at least. I would love to see a tour of nothing but that material. Anyhow, the song was great, and I loved the expressions on people’s faces during the part of the song where he shouts out “Genghis Khan, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Nero….. come back COME BACK COME BACK!!”. Plus we finally got to hear the “Brutal Gardner” line live in person. I love it. After the song was finished Boyd spoke about how the song was from the first collaboration between him and Douglas P and then proceeded to read the poem Silence is Golden, whereupon someone in the crowd decided to throw something at him.
After the show was done Boyd came back on stage and started picking up cables and things and Toastboy ran up to him and gave him two 151 CD’s (we have this thing for making bad music), one for him and one for Douglas. Hopefully he’ll listen to the CD and release “Boyd Rice Presents: The Worst of Music, Volume One”. About 20 people ran up to the stage and starting getting things signed and shook his hand etc. Despite his harsh exterior he seems like a really humble, nice guy that genuinely seems to appreciate his fans. We went outside and were greeted by all the Hollywood hipsters that are at every show, who, I don’t think actually go IN the show, they just kind of hang out outside in front of the venue to be seen to let everyone know how cool they are. If you’re reading this, you know who you are.
So, Despite the lame crowd, the unexpectedness, the 60’s music torture and the piggy noises, I’d say it was a really good show!